Kawagoe Food Delights

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Tod & I ventured out to Kawagoe today. Aside from my aborted attempt to walk there in 2004, I haven't been to Kawagoe since a day trip there in 1996 - the first time we came to Japan. It hasn't changed all that much but we have! Today we visited the usual tourist hotspots, but for us the real highlight turned out to be food.

Shortly after beginning our walk, we realised we were hungry. On the next utility pole, Tod spotted an ad for a soba shop called Kamakura directing us to "turn right at the next light." So we did and followed the signs another ten minutes. It was worth it. The homemade soba with was delicious.

But it was a meal short on vegetables, so when we spotted the "cucumber on a stick" stall at Kitain Temple, we stopped to share one. So simple. Very refreshing. Gave me enough energy to visit the 500 Rakan statues in the garden.

We'd walked about 200 meters out of the temple when we found a little restaurant serving organic, healthy foods. Not exactly vegetarian, but on the right track, so we got some 15-grain onigiri to take away and while we waited discovered homemade dried yuba (tofu skins) that can be used as a meat substitute. The nice lady running the place explained how to cook with it (soak it, squeeze it, dress it with shoyu, (and/or mayo) and dredge it in flour.) I love yuba nd friendly people, so we bought some.

There's a pickle shop in Kawagoe that we visited in 1996. This time, armed with nine years' more eating experience, we realised just how good it was! And we know the name is Kawamuraya. We sampled happily and bought some whole onions pickled in red wine.

Next stop: "candy alley" where there are dozens of shops selling old-fashioned sweets and crackers. We picked up some treats, including Tod's #1 irresistible food item, fancy imported salt. We had another cucumber-on-a-stick, too. This one was slightly salt pickled. It was even better than the first one.

As we wandered along Kurazukuri street, Tod spotted a shop specialising in beans. Wow, did they have lots of beans! Not only dried, raw beans, but many differently flavored prepared beans - fried wasabi beans, chickpeas soaked in sweet sauce and dusted with cocoa, freeze-dried red beans, semi-dried black beans. We tried them all and we walked away from Mame-ya with seven different kinds for home and a handful of recipes, too.

I thought we were done with food as we walked the final leg to the station. I mean, hey, we're on a diet, we're vegetarian, and what is there for us to eat? I should know better. We walked past an olive oil and wine shop. We backed up and entered the olive oil and wine shop (Tasty Globe), enjoyed a degustation and conversation with the owner, then left with two bottles of oil and two of wine!

Now we are home and I'm making dinner. I'd better get back to it - it's time to squeeze the yuba.

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I am Susumu Sawada, the owner of TastyGlobe.
It is a shop of wine and olive oil in Kawagoe.

Thank you for coming to my shop and introducing my shop on your blog.
I was very glad to have a conversation with you in Kawagoe.

I look forward to meeting you again.

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